World production for 2017/18 is forecast down 2.7 million metric tons (tons) to 77.3 million due to early spring frosts severely affecting orchards throughout the European Union, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report.
Smaller supplies are expected to draw consumption down to 65.7 million tons and to lower global trade, it said, adding that China’s production is projected to continue its upward trend, rising 600,000 tons to 44.5 million as higher output in the western provinces more than offsets losses in the north caused by prolonged heat and drought.
“Although larger supplies boost processing 600,000 tons to 5.0 million, consumption is forecast to remain nearly flat,” the USDA said.
According to the report, India’s ban on apples from China in May 2017 following detection of pests is expected to drive China’s exports down to 1.2 million tons.
Imports are forecast to remain flat at 70,000 tons, the report said, forecasting EU production at its lowest since 2007, dropping 20 percent to 10.0 million tons.
“Sustained high temperatures in July on top of severe frost in April 2017 and an early March bloom significantly impacted production across the European Union, especially top growers Poland and Italy. Lower supplies are expected to cause significant changes in trade: exports are projected down sharply by 45 percent to 820 million tons, and imports are expected up nearly 20 percent to 500,000 tons,” the USDA report added.
Despite higher imports, consumption is forecast down to 6.4 million tons as Southern Hemisphere suppliers cannot completely offset reduced domestic supplies, it said.
The report said that U.S. production is projected to slip 260,000 tons to 4.7 million due to freeze during bloom in Michigan and lower production in top growing western states, including Washington.
“Despite lower output, exports are expected to rise 15 percent to 995,000 tons on higher shipments to India as U.S. apples displace China’s. Imports are projected nearly flat at 170,000 tons as a reduction from Canada earlier in the marketing year is expected to be offset by supplies from Chile,” it added.
India’s production seen higher
India’s production is forecast up slightly on favourable growing conditions, rising to 2.3 million tons, the report said, adding that imports are expected to drop to 250,000 tons, down 120,000 from last year’s record, as significantly higher shipments from the United States are not expected to fully replace banned supplies from China.
Chile’s production is expected to slip 40,000 tons to 1.3 million. New plantings have yet to reach full production, but good growing conditions improved the fruit quality over last season. Despite lower supplies, exports are forecast up, to 730,000 tons, on higher volumes of export-quality fruit. Russia’s production is estimated to fall 230,000 tons to 1.3 million due to freeze during bloom in the central Federal District, the USDA said.
- Higher shipments from Moldova and China are expected to drive imports up nearly 30 percent to 850,000 tons.
- Russia remains the top importer despite the continued ban on apples from certain countries, including former top supplier European Union.
- Mexico’s production is projected flat at 720,000 tons as adverse weather conditions inhibit output in the main growing state of Chihuahua. Imports are expected to rise to 300,000 tons on higher shipments from top supplier United States.
- Argentina’s production is expected to continue its downward trend, slipping 30,000 tons to 530,000 as hail and a lighter bloom result in lower yields. Despite lower supplies, a slight recovery in exports is expected, rising to 90,000 tons on higher shipments to Northern Hemisphere markets. Fresh consumption is forecast to remain steady as fewer supplies go to processing.
- New Zealand’s apple production is forecast up nearly 40,000 tons to 560,000 as dry and warm weather during the harvest is expected to nullify the effects of two cyclones and heightened early season rain and warmth. Demand in India and strong prices in the European Union are expected to support shipments, raising exports to a record 375,000 tons.
- South Africa’s production is projected down 100,000 tons to 800,000 as limited water and adverse weather affected both yield and fruit quality. Exports are forecast down 68,000 tons to 485,000 on lower levels of export-quality supplies.